God created numbers

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It has been suggested that this article be merged with Argument from mathematical realism

A less sophisticated form of TAG, the God created numbers argument simply asserts that certain logical or mathematical ideas were the creation of a perfect or omnipotent mind, and that their existence is proof of his existence (since any mind capable of creating numbers in the first place deserves to be called God).

Discussion and rebuttal[edit]

Begging the Question[edit]

Such an argument is begging the question. The main weakness of this argument is that it's not clear that the numbers need creating. In fact, to suggest that a mind created the numbers and other basic logical and mathematical objects suggests that there could be a state in which they did not exist, and that there is an intelligent and creative mind capable of functioning before any basic mathematical or logical processes have occurred. Put another way, to say that God created the numbers implies that he had some choice, and could have either not made them or made them differently. What would that even mean, to live in one of these alternative worlds? The idea is completely incoherent.

Descriptive versus Prescriptive[edit]

One last variation on this counter-argument: do the numbers exist? Clearly numbers are useful for describing certain aspects of the world, and we can talk about their properties in an objective way. They do not exist as concrete, physical entities in the world. We can talk about some hypothetical person or hypothetical piece of furniture, and we can talk about what it means for that person or furniture to exist; we mean that either there's an object in the world that corresponds to the concept that we have, or there isn't.

It's not clear what it means for an abstract concept like "justice" or the number "4" to exist or not exist, and it's not clear that one can meaningfully talk about whether or not such things "exist" in the same way as we discuss whether or not physical objects or physical features of the world exist. And if the very existence of numbers is suspect, their creation is even more so.

A better way at understanding numbers is that they are basically labels we place on real-life phenomena. The labels only exist in the same sense that a computer program exists in the memory of a computer. We identify a group of apples, and label the quantity "four", for ease of communicating ideas. There's nothing particularly special about four apples sitting next to each other. It's simply a description we place on reality.

v · d Arguments for the existence of god
Anthropic arguments   Anthropic principle · Natural-law argument
Arguments for belief   Pascal's Wager · Argument from faith · Just hit your knees
Christological arguments   Argument from scriptural miracles · Would someone die for a lie? · Liar, Lunatic or Lord
Cosmological arguments   Argument from aesthetic experience · Argument from contingency · Cosmological argument · Fine-tuning argument · Kalam · Leibniz cosmological argument · Principle of sufficient reason · Unmoved mover · Why is there something rather than nothing?
Majority arguments   Argument from admired religious scientists
Moral arguments   Argument from justice · Divine command theory
Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from desire · Origin of the idea of God
Dogmatic arguments   Argument from divine sense · Argument from uniqueness
Teleological arguments   Argument from design · Banana argument · 747 Junkyard argument · Laminin argument · Argument from natural disasters
Testimonial arguments   Argument from observed miracles · Personal experience · Argument from consciousness · Emotional pleas · Efficacy of prayer
Transcendental arguments   God created numbers · Argument from the meaning of life
Scriptural arguments   Scriptural inerrancy · Scriptural scientific foreknowledge · Scriptural codes